In online media culture, it’s just a fact that fights and feuds drive clicks. Well, really in any media.
For example, the headline “Kevin Durant: James Worthy did ‘some shady s— to me’” is simply much more clickable than the above one about him apologizing, which all too often leads to outlets simply ignoring the apology in favor of covering a tiff between two different people.
That’s unfortunate, because in this case Durant admitted during his appearance on Bill Simmons’ podcast that his strong words for Worthy were born out of a misunderstanding, which doesn’t do anything to help Worthy’s reputation with those that thought less of him based on those headlines if it doesn’t get out there.
For those that did miss it, Durant claimed during an interview with Simmons last year that Worthy had upset him by being complimentary in person and then allegedly bashing him on TV when they ran into each other at an exhibition game before Durant’s first season with Golden State (via CSN Bay Area):
Simmons then asked Durant: “What’s the best criticism you’ve heard of yourself from the guys on TV?”
As Durant started to answer, his agent, Rich Kleiman, started to laugh and chimed in.
“Yo. You know what’s the best story, I’m not gonna name names … tell him the story about how the player came up to you, and you were like, ‘He kept it so real…'”
Durant: “Do you want me to say his name?”
Kleiman: “That’s up to you guys.”
Durant: “Out of his respect to him … but he did kind of do some shady sh*t to me.”
Durant then shared the following story:
“We played in Vancouver, first game in a Warriors uniform. And I see James Worthy walking out as I was leaving the game … it’s a legend here. ‘Big Game James.’ I didn’t get to see him play but I just know all about him … I’m a little skeptical at this point to even talk to anybody from the generation before because I don’t even know how they feel about me as a person, as a player because these dudes — they look at me as like, ‘Oh you switching teams, you chasing this, you chasing that.’ So I’m just gonna keep it moving.
“But he was like, ‘Man. Don’t worry about that stuff. People change jobs every single year, every single day. Don’t worry about that. Just go out there and keep working and go win.’ So I’m like, ‘Man that’s nice.’
“So I came back home that night and my boy Randy — I was like, ‘Man. James worthy was cool. He showed me so much love. I appreciate that.’ He (Randy) was like, ‘Huh? He was talking so bad about you on TV. He was saying Magic wouldn’t have done that. I wouldn’t have done that…’
“Yo, stop selling out. Stop selling your brothers out. This is a fraternity. Stop selling us out … stop doing that man, and then come in my face talking that nonsense. I was really fooled with him.”
However, based on Durant’s brief exchange with Simmons about the incident during his latest appearance on Simmons’ podcast, it appears that was a misunderstanding, and his friend might have misinformed him:
Simmons: “We solved that.”
Durant: “I’m sorry, James, that was a big mix-up.”
Simmons: “Oh we’re apologizing to James worthy now?”
Durant: “Yeah, that’s my boy.”
From a bit of limited personal experience with Worthy and from how I’ve never heard anyone who’s met him say a bad word about him, I can say I was kind of shocked by that headline, so it makes way more sense that it was all “a big mix-up.” It’s also not easy to admit you were wrong, so kudos to Durant in being big enough to say he was sorry.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.